Facts about Domestic Violence Around the World

Copyright WCC/Peter Williams
  • Worldwide, 40-70% of all female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner.
  • In no country in the world are women safe from this type of violence. Out of ten counties surveyed in a 2005 study by the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 50 percent of women in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru and Tanzania reported having been subjected to physical or sexual violence by intimate partners, with figures reaching staggering 71 percent in rural Ethiopia. Only in one country (Japan) did less than 20 percent of women report incidents of domestic violence. An earlier WHO study puts the number of women physically abused by their partners or ex-partners at 30 percent in the United Kingdom, and 22 percent in the United States.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the costs of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceed US$5.8 billion per year: US$4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly US$1.8 billion.
  • In 2006, 89 countries had some form of legislative prohibition on domestic violence, including 60 countries with specific domestic violence laws, and a growing number of countries had instituted national plans of action to end violence against women. In 2003, only 45 countries had specific laws on domestic violence.
  • Around the world at least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Most often the abuser is a member of her own family.
  • In all, women are victims of intimate partner violence at a rate about 5 times that of males.
  • In the US, domestic violence is most prominent among women aged 16 to 24.
  • In the US, poorer women experience significantly more domestic violence than higher income women.

(Sources: UNIFEM, Amnesty USA, Stopvaw.org, findcounseling.com)

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